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Sunday March 28, 2010 in Books
The time: 1938. The place: S.S. #1 Jericho School, a one-room schoolhouse in a farming area just outside the fictional village of Baker’s Creek. There, a delightful but unmanageable group of children finally meets its match—Melita Linton, an 18-year-old teacher fresh out of Normal School. But Miss Linton soon faces her own challenge, in the form of Ewart, a menacing and mysterious juvenile delinquent sent to “straighten out” on a farm after doing time in Battenville Training School. The play chronicles Miss Linton’s struggle to connect with a boy who has cut himself off from everyone, including himself—and to persuade the cautious and close-knit community to open its arms to this stranger in their midst.
Full of warmth and poignant humour, Schoolhouse evokes a way of life shared by generations of rural North Americans, exploring timeless themes of rejection, of compassion, of damage, of hope. It is a story about insiders and outsiders, and the fact that every time you draw a circle, some things are inside the circle and some things are not. In the end, the play is about those on the outside—about people who often “don’t have the words” to express themselves or the training to cope with their lives but who have to get through anyway—those we leave behind to their own devices, who set themselves free.
Cast of 5 women and 7 men.
ISBN 13: 9780889225718 | ISBN 10: 889225710
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 96 pages
$15.95 CAN / $15.95 US
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA013000
QUOTES OF NOTE
“A thoughtful … well crafted … beautifully inspired piece. Like the Blyth Festival, Schoolhouse is a Canadian story. It is an excellent choice to mark the theatre’s 100th milestone, compelling and richly rural.”
– Ottawa Citizen
"Under the (quite-skilled) storytelling, the play is an exuberantly theatrical and moving tribute to the schoolhouse itself, filled with memories and local details distilled from Brodie’s extensive interviews with former teachers and students who shared the experience of the one-room school."
– Canadian Literature
About the ContributorsLeanna Brodie
Leanna Brodie is an actor, writer and translator. Her plays (published by Talonbooks) include The Book of Esther, For Home and Country, The Vic and Schoolhouse, as well as CBC radio dramas Invisible City and Seeds of Our Destruction. Her libretti were heard in Tapestry New Opera Works’ Opera to Go 2008; in David Ogborn’s acclaimed site-specific piece, Opera on the Rocks; and in Emergence, his song cycle featuring a singing robot. Schoolhouse has been seen by over twenty thousand Canadians in multiple sold-out runs, and is slated for further productions in 2010.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program; and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.